Thursday, June 10, 2010

birthday wisdom

As of last week, I have officially aged another year. I find myself in one of those reflective moods that affects us as the years pile up. In taking stock, I have given considerable thought to those old saws and whether or not I’ve found any truth there. So, here goes.

• You’re not getting older, you’re getting better. Maybe a bit wiser, but not better. My back hurts, my teeth are wearing thin while the rest of me is thickening. Youth is most certainly wasted on the young.

• The best things in life are free. Nothing in this life is free. And the best are the most dear. Nonmaterial things such as love, trust, family, fitness—you name it—all require a significant investment of self. And that can be not only personally expensive and time consuming, but painful. Oh well, no pain, no gain.

• A stitch in time saves nine. I have repeatedly ignored this one to my detriment. I can’t seem to get it through my thick skull that things break down, wear out and need maintenance. I expect them to go on forever and continue to be surprised when anything fails, be it my car, my toaster oven or my body.

• You are what you eat. If this were true, I’d be a lot sweeter and quite a bit richer.

• If you’re happy, your children will be happy. Many of us, myself included, raising a family in the 1970s swallowed this one, I’m sorry to say. And our children paid the price. The needs of adults and children are often not in harmony. Being the adult means taking care of the kids first. And that can mean postponing careers and making peace with a marriage that has fallen far short of expectations.

• All you need is love. See above.

• Children should be seen and not heard. Actually, it’s the grown-ups who should be seen more and heard less.

• It’s just as easy to marry a rich man as a poor man. Sure it is, if your bust size is at least twice your age.

• Better safe than sorry: a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. Well, that all depends on the type of bird in your hand, the kind of birds in the bush, how far away the bush is and the length of your reach. Sometimes it pays to go out on that limb.

• Nothing ventured, nothing gained. Most of us play it too safe all our lives, for which many of us are sorry later on. I, for one, have come to regret the chances I let pass by rather than the ones I took.

• You can’t judge a book by its cover. True. Remember Ted Bundy?

• If you lie down with dogs you get up with fleas. Also, true.

• Boys don’t make passes at girls who wear glasses. Don’t make me laugh.

• Take care of the pennies and the dollars will take care of themselves. Yeah, right.

• A fool and her money are soon parted. I’m the poster-girl for this one.

• The meek shall inherit the earth. No way. As a character in the musical “Camelot” sings: “It’s not the earth the meek inherit, it’s the dirt.”

• A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. Ignore this at your own peril. I have. There is just no way around this one. And I’ve tried. Nike puts it best: Just do it.

• Ninety percent of life is just showing up. Woody Allen was on to something here. Of course, it’s the remaining 10 percent that separate the haves from the have-nots, the doers from the did-nots, the Woody Allens from the rest of us.

• Do unto others, as you would have others do unto you. This makes more sense and becomes easier the older you get. I’m not sure why. Maybe it has something to do with where we begin. As babies, children, adolescents and even young adults, we assume we are the center of the universe. Perhaps as we mature, we move off center a bit. Suddenly, letting someone into your driving lane or cleaning up after yourself is not such a big deal. Besides, it feels good.

The best is yet to come. Maybe, maybe not. But whatever good comes, I’ll appreciate it.

As my mom always said: “Tomorrow is another day.”